Scammers are inserting themselves into customer support conversations on Twitter and “assisting” users by directing them to click on phishing links.
The scam, which was first detected by Techhelplist, is a classic example of a social engineering attack. To pull it off, an actor just needs to set up an imitation account that looks and sounds like a real Twitter support channel. The following account pulls it off quite well:
Once they’ve gotten a convincing handle, they’re ready to hunt for victims. And there’s no better way to do that than to hone in on the mentions of an official Twitter support channel.
Christopher Boyd, a malware intelligence analyst at Malwarebytes, elaborates on the scam’s sneakiness:
“[Scammers] [t]roll the mentions of an official support channel on Twitter (which is easy enough to filter), then barge into conversations between service X and customer Y, making it look like [they’re] the official support account. Smart scammers would replicate avatars, Twitter handles, and any other key identifiers as much as possible. If they want to go one step further, they’ll see when a support account stops Tweeting (perhaps they’re all in bed / off duty) and send their spam during those hours.”
No legitimate Twitter customer support channel would direct you to click on a link shortened by bit.ly, but these scammers don’t have any qualm with it. In one example observed by Boyd, the phishing link leads users to a fake login page of a bank, where they are asked to enter in their account credentials.
Smart…but not foolproof.
Users can protect themselves against this type of scam using good ol’ common sense. Specifically, if your question has nothing to do with signing into your account, why would you need to log in? Or verify your account? And why does that Twitter customer support channel have so few followers if it’s an established brand?
Common sense is one of the best defenses against scammers on Twitter and elsewhere.
What’s the most clever scam you’ve come across on Twitter? Let us know in the comments!